Ephesians 1:3. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places,
Welcome to Ephesians. This is the first of Paul’s “prison epistles” that we will journey through together in our quest for a greater understanding of the indwelling life of Christ in us. If you are new to this blog, there is no better place to begin than this amazing letter. Ephesians 1 alone is a master class on our union with Christ.
Ephesians was written by Paul from Rome. At the end of Romans, Paul said he wanted to travel to Rome and visit the church and eventually go to Spain. Well Paul did make it to Rome, but not the way he had expected. After returning to Jerusalem, he promptly got himself arrested and sent to Rome in chains to be placed on trial. The book of Acts ends with Paul on house arrest in Rome. After that things get fuzzy for us. It seems most likely though that this letter was written from prison and not just to the church in Ephesus. It was meant to be a letter that would be very general and circulated to all the different churches in the region.
Ephesians starts out huge and doesn’t let up. Look at Ephesians 1:3 again. God has blessed us with EVERY spiritual blessing IN CHRIST in the heavenly places.
We know from Romans that we share everything that Christ has because we died with Christ and we have been raised with Christ to new life. His life. A spiritual life. A heavenly life. Which has empowered us to live and love like Christ even in the midst of the spiritual war that we are living in today.
The blessing was on her feet all along. She just didn’t know it.
The heavenly places that Paul speaks of in 1:3 is NOT heaven as in the streets of gold and pearly gates. It is the spiritual realm. The place where spiritual forces dwell, some good and some evil (6:12). It is the place where Jesus is enthroned. And so are we (2:6). Paul is NOT talking about blessings we get when we “die and go to Heaven.” He’s talking about the spiritual realities that we experience right now. Today. On earth. But they are heavenly realities. They are spiritual blessings.
The spiritual blessings that God offers us are ONLY found IN CHRIST. And we have every last one of them. We have every spiritual blessing that Christ himself has. Let that soak in for a minute. None are lacking. All are found in him alone. These are the blessings of his very life. His eternal love and goodness applied to our life today.
So what are they? What are our spiritual blessings? Well that is what we will explore over the next several days (go ahead and read Ephesians 1:3-14. How many times do you see the phrase “in Christ” or similar phrase? How many blessings can you see?).
Let’s just start by saying that our spiritual, heavenly blessings are NOT the #blessed blessings of social media. They are not the earthly blessings of good health, more stuff, job promotions, ministry success. Yes, those things are from God and they are good. But the spiritual blessings that Paul is talking about are far better, for they can sustain you in the battle of life even when you lose your health, your stuff, your status, or your very life (like when you’re in prison).
“To live is Christ” means that you already have EVERY spiritual blessing. YOU CANNOT BE MORE BLESSED THAN YOU ALREADY ARE. This is the good news. Now we can live life as Christ does – not to earn a blessing but from being blessed. There’s a huge difference. One will destroy you, the other will give you wings to fly.